2020 applicants

Workshops and other online support

Skills for Success continue to support you in your studies. We deliver online workshops helping you to improve a variety of academic skills. Our workshops are open to all students.

Visit CareerHub for the full list of workshops and to book on to the sessions. If you are interested in a specific type of workshop then you can search for keywords such as ‘essay’ and ‘referencing’, or filter the type of event to Academic Skills Workshop or Maths, Stats and Digital Skills Workshop.

Find a workshop


Writing skills workshops

Writing well: academic style

Knowing how to write at university and what is expected of you can feel confusing. This session will help you with both practical ways of improving your writing and help you think about the principles and questions that underpin the idea of academic style.

In your own words: using reading in your writing

This workshop looks at how you can engage with difficult academic texts and use them in your own writing.  As well as discussing the practicalities of how you paraphrase, summarise and quote from sources, we will also think about how to engage critically with texts, and how reading relates to writing.

Structuring an essay

Writing university essays can be challenging.  In this workshop, we will look at how to generate and organise ideas, how different types of assignment question can suggest different structures, and how to translate that into your academic writing.

Structure of research papers in the sciences and social sciences

Research papers can seem intimidating - daunting both to read and to write. But information in a lot of research articles is actually organised in a fairly standard way. This workshop will explain the main components of the ‘Science Paper Format’ (SPF) used in the sciences and for quantitative-based research in the social sciences. By understanding these key elements, you will see that SPF writing allows researchers to communicate their study findings effectively and allows readers to locate the information they want. It will help you read academic articles quickly and efficiently and show you how to structure a well-organised research report yourself.

Shut up and write

Do you struggle with procrastination, or find it difficult to get down to writing your assignments? This workshop is facilitated by an experienced tutor and is for students who want a distraction-free space to focus on writing. Using a variation of the Pomodoro Technique, you will be given blocks of time in a peaceful environment, where you will be asked to switch off mobile phones and wifi/internet access and encouraged to get down to work. In the regular breaks, you can ask the workshop facilitator any writing-related questions you may have, whether they're about grammar, structure, whether something makes sense, or overcoming writer's block.  And tea and coffee will be provided, along with some snacks to keep your energy up. All students need to bring their own laptop or device to write with, and other than that, there is nothing you need to do, except exactly what the title says - shut up and write.

Analysing essay questions

One of the most common complaints from lecturers is that their students have not answered the question – and if you want to avoid making that mistake, the key first step is to understand what the question is asking you to do. In this session we will look at analysing and unpacking assignment instructions so that you can see what is expected from you with different types of question and make sure you are approaching your writing in the right way.

Maths, stats and digital skills workshops

Build up your maths confidence

If you are worried about the maths content of your course, come to this session to pick up tips about how to actively manage your learning process and your study time.

How to make your calculator work for you

After studying this course, you should be able to understand the basic functions on your calculator, what may go wrong when entering calculations and know how to fix them and apply knowledge of calculator functions to a range of mathematical calculations.

Converting between decimals, fractions and percentages

Fractions, decimals and percentages are frequently used in everyday life. Knowing how to convert between them improves general number work and problem solving skills. This session will help you understand percentage as the number of parts per 100, recognise the equivalence of fractions, decimals and percentage and calculate percentages and use them to solve problems.

Basic statistics concepts: from mean to standard deviation

This workshop is designed to help you make sense of the most important basic concepts in statistics: Mean, Median, Mode, Variance and Standard Deviation. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistic concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

Normal distribution

The normal distribution is the most important and most widely used distribution in statistics. Understanding its properties makes it easier to interpret statistical data. In this workshop, we will look at the properties of normal distributions, the Empirical Rule, the Standard normal distribution table. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

Hypothesis testing

This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. This workshop will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal distribution and hypothesis testing.

Differentiation rules

In this workshop we will look at the concept of a derivative, and how a derivative can be used to describe the rate of change of one quantity with respect to another. We will review the rules of differentiation to compute the derivatives of different types of functions and solve some standard problems.

Differentiation applications

In this workshop we will look see how we can use the derivative to determine the maximum and minimum values of particular functions (e.g. cost, strength, amount of material used in a building, profit, loss, etc.).

Microsoft Word demo: formatting your assignment

Discover how to use Word's really useful built-in features that work to automatically format your document for you. Using these built-in features will ensure consistency throughout your document and save you having to manually update your work.

Excel functions and short-cuts

Learn how to construct functions, manipulate data and format outputs. In this training session, you’ll work through a series of exercises using the following:

  • Paste special
  • Naming cell ranges
  • Relative vs absolute referencing
  • Basic functions
  • IF functions
  • Strings e.g.
  • Concatenate / text to tables

Research and referencing skills workshops

Finding resources

Improve the quality of your assignments by learning where to search for suitable resources. Find out more about different types of resource (reference, primary and secondary sources, library databases, open access) and where to look for them.

Referencing made easy

How to reference properly is something that causes students a lot of stress – but it doesn’t need to be difficult.  This interactive session will introduce you to referencing and why it is important when writing your assignments.  You will also learn what to reference, how to construct your references, and where to go for help and support.

Search tips and strategies

Do you find it challenging to find enough information for your assignments? Perhaps you find it difficult to find relevant information amongst the huge number of search returns. This session will equip you with the tips and techniques you need to make your reaches relevant and manageable.

Evaluating resources

Improve the quality of your assignments by learning what kind of resources are appropriate to use in your work, and how to evaluate the usefulness of potential sources, including open access material.

Developing a research proposal

This session is intended to encourage thought and discussion about the dissertation research proposal. We will focus on a range of factors to be considered, from practicalities to potential problems, attempting to begin with your own stage of progress and your understanding of research proposal requirements.

Study skills workshops

Time management 

Provides hints and tips on how to manage your studies without over-stressing. This is a very practical workshop, delivered by someone who knows just how difficult it is to fit everything in and meet deadlines. Come along and learn how to do it – and relax and enjoy!

Returning to study

Are you a student who is returning to study after a long break or perhaps entering the academic world for the first time? This workshop will encourage you to think about what it means to be a student and how to get the most out of academic study. It will help you to thrive in an academic environment and signpost where you can get additional support to help you along the way.

University lectures

To get the best from your lectures, it is not enough to turn-up and listen - you also need to prepare, take effective notes and have a review and revision strategy in place that works for you. This session will present some well-tested strategies for lecture research, note-taking and review. The workshop will be task-based; you need to come (with a note pad and pen!) prepared to try out different approaches to find out what suits your learning style best. We’ll be looking at ways to work with a lecture study partner too – so persuade a classmate along, if you can.

Effective reading notes

In this workshop we will discuss why and how we make notes from our reading. We will consider the benefits of making notes, such as avoiding plagiarism, saving time and helping our understanding of text. We will go on to consider the merits of a variety of note-making techniques.

Critical reading

Reading at university is not just about understanding what a text says. In this session, we will look at how to critically engage with your reading, and how to develop the skills that will help you get the most out of your studies – and the best marks.

Evidencing critical thinking

Critical thinking is at the heart of every academic discipline, and whilst it can sound like a daunting term, it is something that you are already familiar with from your everyday life. In this session we will look at how to make sure you are approaching your studies critically, and how you can develop your existing skills and practices.

Presentation skills

Do you want to be able to communicate more effectively when you give oral presentations? Would you like some practical advice about how to make the experience of speaking to an audience less stressful? This workshop will offer useful tips which can boost your confidence and clarity when you speak in public.

Other online support

Academic skills appointments

Are you having problems with academic writing? Are you not sure how to structure an essay and evidence critical thinking? You can talk to an experienced tutor for support with any aspect of English language, academic study, assignment writing or exam preparation. Academic Skills Appointments are delivered through Zoom and can be booked via CareerHub

Maths and stats appointments

Do you have any concerns related to the quantitative aspects of your course? Go to CareerHub to book a Maths and Stats Support Appointment with one of our experienced tutors.

Conversation Café

Are you an international student? Would you like to practise English speaking and listening skills in a friendly and welcoming environment?  These small group sessions are led by an experienced tutor. We hope that this will help you keep the Essex connection and not feel isolated, whether you are still be on campus or would have returned home. Conversation Café sessions are also bookable via CareerHub.

Additional help

If you would like to request a specific workshop, please complete the request a workshop form (.docx).

Need help?
Need help?
Colchester Campus Student Services Hub
Telephone:  01206 874000
Southend Campus Student Services Hub
Telephone: 01702 328444